State Watch

Los Angeles sheriff says he will not enforce vaccine mandate

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he will not force his employees to get vaccinated as required by a mandate the City Council passed on Wednesday. 

“The issue has become so politicized,” Villanueva said on Thursday. “There are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated, so I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5 percent, 10 percent of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate”

The sheriff also cited the “defunding effort” and referred to it coupled with the vaccine mandate as “the worst of two worlds.”

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that would require customers to show proof of vaccination before entering venues such as indoor restaurants, salons and gyms. 

The mandate is one of the strictest passed in the country thus far amid a pandemic that continues to hit unvaccinated areas of the U.S. particularly hard. 

The ordinance does not apply to pharmacies and grocery stores and is expected to go into effect on Nov. 4. Exceptions will be made for those who have a medical reason not to get the shot and for those with a “sincerely held religious belief.” 

Earlier this year, Villanueva said that his deputies would not enforce an indoor mask mandate, which he said was “not backed by science.”

“Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines,” Villanueva said in a statement at the time.

The Hill has reached out to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for comment. 

Updated at 8:07 p.m.


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